/jak"euhl, -awl/, n.
1. any of several nocturnal wild dogs of the genus Canis, esp. C. aureus, of Asia and Africa, that scavenge or hunt in packs.
2. a person who performs dishonest or base deeds as the follower or accomplice of another.
3. a person who performs menial or degrading tasks for another.
[1595-1605; < alter., by assoc. with JACK, of Pers shag(h)al; c. Skt srgala]

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Any of three canine species of the genus Canis.

They inhabit open country and live alone, in pairs, or in packs. They hunt at night, feeding on small animals, plant material, or carrion. A pack can bring down larger prey. The golden, or Asiatic, jackal (yellowish) is found from eastern Europe and North Africa to South Asia. The black-backed jackal (rusty red with a black back) and side-striped jackal (grayish with a white-tipped tail and an indistinct stripe on each side) are found in southern and eastern Africa. Jackals are 34–37 in. (85–95 cm) long, including the 12–14-in. (30–35-cm) tail, and weigh 15–24 lbs (7–11 kg).

Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas).

Leonard Lee Rue III

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 any of several species of wolflike carnivores of the dog genus Canis, family Canidae, sharing with the hyena an exaggerated reputation for cowardice. Three species are usually recognized: the golden, or Asiatic, jackal (C. aureus), found from eastern Europe and northeast Africa to Southeast Asia, and the black-backed (C. mesomelas) and side-striped (C. adustus) jackals of southern and eastern Africa. Jackals grow to a length of about 85–95 cm (34–37 inches), including the 30–35-centimetre (12–14-inch) tail, and weigh about 7–11 kg (15–24 pounds). The golden jackal is yellowish; the black-backed jackal is rusty red with a black back; and the side-striped jackal is grayish with a white-tipped tail and an indistinct stripe on each side.

      Jackals inhabit open country. They are nocturnal animals that usually conceal themselves by day in brush or thickets and sally forth at dusk to hunt. They live alone, in pairs, or in packs and feed on whatever small animals, plant material, or carrion is available. They follow lions and other large cats in order to finish a carcass when the larger animal has eaten its fill. When hunting in packs, they are able to bring down prey as large as an antelope or sheep.

      Like other members of the genus, jackals sing at evening; their cry is considered more dismaying to human ears than that of the hyena. They have an offensive odour caused by the secretion of a gland at the base of the tail. The young are born in burrows, the litters containing two to seven pups; gestation lasts 57 to 70 days. Like wolves and coyotes, jackals interbreed with domestic dogs.

      The aardwolf (q.v.), family Hyaenidae, is sometimes called a maned, or gray, jackal. The South American fox (q.v.), Dusicyon, is sometimes referred to as a jackal.

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Universalium. 2010.

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